Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai called for greater transparency from internet “gatekeepers” on Tuesday, a day before Facebook and Twitter representatives face questions from lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
The FCC Chairman specifically called out Google, Facebook and Twitter for the control they have over vast sectors of the internet in an op-ed for Medium.
Mr. Pai argued that the tech companies need to be more transparent when it comes to data collection and algorithms that promote accounts and news stories.
“How do these companies make decisions about what we see and what we don’t? And who makes those decisions? We still don’t know,” Mr. Pai wrote.
He pointed to accusations from conservatives, including Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn and California House candidate Elizabeth Heng, that they were unjustly blocked from promoting their platforms by Twitter and Facebook, respectively.
President Trump has also weighed in on the growing debate and accused social media platforms of censorship. He recently accused Google of “rigging” its search results to promote stories from left-leaning publications.
During a meeting in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump roped in Twitter and Facebook, saying all three are, “really treading on very, very troubled territory. It’s not fair to large portions of the population.”
The FCC chairman, under fire for dismantling Obama-era net neutrality rules, argued similar regulation shouldn’t be the answer. Rather, there should be a higher transparency standard for these private companies, similar to ones met by broadband networks, he said.
“Among other things, because they are private entities, they do not violate the First Amendment when they make certain business judgments about content on their sites,” Mr. Pai wrote.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg will sit before lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday in light of the growing controversy and ongoing election interference threat.